Charlotte walked up and introduced herself, though at a reception in her honor, and I wanted to say . . . well of course I know who you are, not to mention the sumptuous interiors, furnishings, fabrics, gardens and books you have created . . . I wanted to fall over myself with worthy admiration . . . but she is saying, don’t you have a business that starts with an i? Now I am flabbergasted, and hear myself inviting her over to see Ibu, which didn’t even yet have a showroom, just a studio filled with treasure in my home. The next morning Charlotte arrives, having canceled her busy plans to take time for Ibu - and we dig through the studio, trying this jacket and that cushion and after a couple of hours of conversation and serious shopping, I realize that Charlotte Moss is not only a design guru but a generously spirited, fun-loving woman. We end the morning as friends.
I watch her orders from the Ibu website come in from time to time, and am moved to see her request 10 books of ibulliance writings we offered one holiday season. She’s actually reading this, I marveled, and spreading the word. Next thing I know, Charlotte is traveling through Charleston and we are putting on a party in my garden. I can’t help but notice how great she looks, always, in her classic, glamorous style. I gather up my best words and write to ask if she would consider doing a clothing collection for Ibu. I mean, everyone knows she can ace a library or conjure a romantic bedroom. But what about taking her own bold, unique, wardrobe style, and putting it into a global handmade collection?
She said immediately and without hesitation, Yes. Can I tell you how my imagination beamed?
Thus began my trips to New York where we burrowed away in her study, pulling down her volumes of Yves St. Laurent drawings to ignite the project or reaching into her own wardrobe for sumptuous inspiration. I brought stories of the women in Kabul who embroidered the Farsi word for peace into their jackets, a swatch book of naturally dyed, brilliantly colored silks from Bangladesh; she brought up kitten heels and long evening dresses and we crafted together a collection of clothing, accessories, and jewelry and called it, fittingly, Global Glamour.
Last January, Charlotte and I headed to Morocco to visit with women in Ourika who are making caftans and capes and jeweled slippers for us and spent hours with Nawal, pouring over fabric swatches. We met up with Millicent to design handwoven ikat velvet for mules and then combed the souks for old market-find jewelry that makes it all sing.
In the months since, a collection has been born. Clutches and head wraps whipped up in Uzbekistan, coats from Kabul, dresses from Kandahar, long felted affairs to sweep through a holiday party in style. A bomb exploded in front of one artisan’s house, shattering plans. Internet communication stumbled in Kyrgyzstan for weeks of delay, materials ran out . . . yes, challenges rose that come with the world of artisanship. But here’s what I’m saying to you. Beauty prevailed.
We are launching the Charlotte Moss for Ibu Collection in New York City the second week of October with Salons to follow in cities across the country. Between now and then, I will unfold the stories of the collection and give you, our allies, the first chance to pre-order before the public launch. Come with us to the places where ancient techniques meet modern design; where women meet obstacles and together overcome them; where clothing is crafted not for a season but a lifetime. Where Global Glamour begins.
All the Best,
Susan Hull Walker